From Himeji Port, the ferry ride out to Shodoshima will take you just under two hours. Thanks to social media, this island is slowly growing in popularity due to being the inspiration for a scene in the animated film Kiki's Delivery Service. Here at Shodoshima’s Olive Park, you can live out your Ghibli dreams.
Outside of anime, the captivating island of Shodoshima, renowned as a prime green destination, beckons with a rich tapestry of cultural, historical, and natural treasures. It proudly serves as a key venue for the Setouchi Triennale art event, with numerous art installations scattered across its landscape.
As far as attractions go, Shodoshima boasts its own spiritual journey through 88 sacred sites à la the better known Shikoku Ohenro Pilgrimage. Among these, the Sekimon-dō Temple stands as a Buddhist sanctuary offering a realm of quiet contemplation. For those seeking to embrace the island's natural beauty, a visit to Kankakei Gorge is imperative, with its towering peaks offering panoramic vistas.
No visit to Shodoshima would be complete without a stop at Yamaroku Soy Sauce. Here, the age-old art of brewing soy sauce is on display. Even now, the maker uses massive wooden barrels to keep with the traditions of old. As a result, this artisanal soy sauce has seen its demand soar domestically in recent times.
Further enriching the culinary exploration, MORIKUNI, a distinguished sake brewery and restaurant on Shodoshima, invites you to a delightful tasting experience. Here, a medley of fine Japanese sake complements a hearty meal, and their shop offers an extensive range of sake. It’s the perfect way to take a piece of Shodoshima's tradition home with you.
As you traverse Shodoshima, the vast olive groves on the hillsides are emblematic of the island's robust olive oil industry, a venture that has borne fruit in other realms of food production on the island. The leftover olive matter from oil production is crafted into feed for wagyu beef cattle, leading to the creation of Olive Beef, a succulent, umami-rich delicacy that has garnered praise from culinary circles across Japan.
Similarly, the island's aquaculture benefits from this sustainable practice; olive feed given to farmed yellowtail (hamachi) results in Olive Hamachi, a variant boasting higher collagen content in its muscles compared to other farmed fish, making your culinary exploration on Shodoshima an unforgettable fusion of tradition, sustainability, and gastronomic delight.